Court injuncts receivers alleged to have prevented access to Ranelagh clinic

Physiotherapy clinic to be allowed to resume operations immediately

Mr Justice Senan Allen described as “quite startling” Archview Physiotherapy Limited’s ex-parte application against the receivers. Photograph: iStock

Mr Justice Senan Allen described as “quite startling” Archview Physiotherapy Limited’s ex-parte application against the receivers. Photograph: iStock

 

The High Court has ordered two receivers and a security company to immediately allow a physiotherapy clinic to resume operations in its premises in Ranelagh, Dublin.

Mr Justice Senan Allen described as “quite startling” Archview Physiotherapy Limited’s ex-parte application against receivers Mark Degnan and Ken Fennell, both employed by Deloitte, of Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2, as well as Ktech Security Unlimited Company, with a registered office at First Avenue, Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght, Dublin 2.

He said the plaintiff had made out a “strong case, which is likely to succeed”, that there has been unlawful entry using force.

With only Archview represented in court, the judge issued a series of temporary injunctions against the defendants, ordering them to permit the physiotherapy business to continue operating in a portion of the building it is said to have occupied since 2012.

Mr Justice Allen also directed that Archview be provided with any locks, keys or codes required for re-entering the premises at 49-50 Ranelagh Road in Dublin 6.

Representing Archview, Martin Hayden SC, instructed by solicitor Barry Creed, said there was an obvious “urgency” to the case, as elderly patients who require regular appointments have had their physio regimes immediately halted as a result of the defendant’s alleged actions.

Mr Hayden said the physiotherapy clinic’s owner, Lynsey McGovern, discovered at 6.45 am on Monday that the building’s locks had been changed. He said the defendants maintain that Archview has no right to be in the building.

Received a call

In an affidavit, Ms McGovern said she received a call that morning informing her that several men, whom she believes were agents of Ktech engaged by the receivers, had broken down the door of the property and changed the locks. She alleged she was refused entry to the building and was not allowed to access reception computers to retrieve the contact details of some 45 patients whose appointments she needed to cancel that day.

Ms McGovern, whose clinic employs 15 staff and treats some 230 patients per week, claimed she received no prior notice of the receivers’ intentions to take occupation of the premises. She said the incident has had a “major impact” on her business and its staff, and she has “significant concerns” for the practice’s immediate inability to continue providing intensive pre and post-operative treatments.

Ms McGovern said her business is a commercial tenant of the building, which was owned by her father and brother before Mr Degnan and Mr Fennell were appointed as joint receivers in July 2019, due to outstanding loans which had been sold by AIB Bank plc to Everday Finance DAC.

Rent had been paid to Galvin Properties, as instructed, without the accrual of arrears since about August 2019, she said. This amounted to approximately €50,000 in total, she said, noting that the full rental liability had been paid throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.

Her business has engaged fully with the receivers since their appointment, she said, and it has been prepared to engage in a rent review process. Ms McGovern said the receivers informed her in July 2020 that they wished to put in place a new lease.

Issues

In making the orders, Mr Justice Allen said it may well be that there are issues between the receivers and the plaintiff that need to be resolved through the courts. However, he said the evidence before him is that the receivers have accepted rent for years and “decided to take the law into their own hands by going into the property”.

He instructed that his orders be served on the defendants and said the case would return before the court later this week.